Transportation planning for a post-COVID world

A mother and daughter enjoying a bike ride together along an asphalt path

When COVID-19 guidelines suggested people stay at least two metres apart, cities around the world made room for people to stay two metres apart while travelling.

Like other cities, Guelph put temporary measures in place at several locations so people walking and cycling could maintain physical distancing. On average, the Eramosa Road lane saw 206 pedestrians and 30 bikes per day, and the Speedvale Avenue lane saw 234 pedestrians and 402 bikes per day. The Eramosa lane wasn’t well used, so it was removed. The Speedvale lane stayed in place until Guelph started winter maintenance, and restored in the spring 2021. Guelph also tried one-way sidewalks, but people found these confusing. Guelph adjusted its approach and posted signs warning people of narrow sidewalks and trails, so people could put on a mask if needed.

Though Guelph doesn’t have trail-use data for 2020, its safe to say Guelph trails were popular places for people to get out and active while recreation centres were closed, and team sports were restricted.

Guelph also reached key milestones set out in the Transportation Master Plan. During this process, the City conducted four rounds of community engagement, collected over 2,000 responses, and increased Guelph’s previous targets for people walking, cycling, using transit and driving. The updated Transportation Master Plan reflects Guelph’s goal to become a more connected, walkable and netZero carbon community by 2050, and make transportation in Guelph safer, more equitable, sustainable, complete and affordable.

When the plan is approved by City Council, staff will begin implementation and reporting on progress.

Related resources

Additional 2020 highlights

The Community Bus advertising the new On-demand your way service

Public transit during a pandemic

According to Statistics Canada, transit ridership, and revenue, dropped by up to 85% last year. Guelph’s experience is consistent with comparable Canadian cities; with people working or studying at home, local ridership declined about 80%.

Public transit during a pandemic